Dear Readers,

Occasionally I come across a book that I feel would benefit all DM Review readers. Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, creators of the revolutionary performance management tool called the Balanced Scorecard, have now introduced a new approach that makes strategy a continuous process ­ owned not just by top management, but by everyone.

In The Strategy-Focused Organization, Robert Kaplan and David Norton share the results of 10 years of research on more than 200 companies that have implemented the Balanced Scorecard. Drawing from more than 20 in-depth case studies ­ including Mobil, CIGNA, Nova Scotia Power and AT&T Canada ­ Kaplan and Norton illustrate how Balanced Scorecard adopters have taken this groundbreaking tool to the next level. These organizations have used the scorecard to create an entirely new performance management framework that puts strategy at the center of key management processes and systems.

Kaplan and Norton articulate the five key principles required for building strategy-focused organizations: 1) translate the strategy to operational terms, 2) align the organization to the strategy, 3) make strategy everyone's everyday job, 4) make strategy a continual process, and 5) mobilize change through strong, effective leadership. The authors provide a detailed account of how a range of organizations in the private, public and nonprofit sectors have deployed these principles to achieve breakthrough, sustainable performance improvements.

The creation of a strategy-focused organization is not easy as it requires tremendous consensus from all levels within the organization. However, the impact of a strategy-focused organization ­ if accomplished ­ is truly phenomenal. A strategy-focused company can move from the bottom to the top of their industry in only a few years. Similar to the implementation of a data warehouse ­ the critical component in a business intelligence infrastructure ­ the creation of a strategy-focused organization takes a tremendous amount of consensus and cross-departmental support which is not always easily accomplished. The benefits, however, far outweigh the effort that is required.

As always, thanks for reading DM Review!

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